Tips for making camping with the family fun, not stressful

Family / August 15, 2016

Story and photography by Mara Kuhn

Story and photography by Mara Kuhn

Anyone who has planned a family camping trip knows what a hassle it can be. Simply making a few tweaks can make the trip run smoother. When camping with children, especially small children, your arms are already full and energy low before you even begin to set up camp.

HER has compiled a list of tips that will help lower the stress and give you more time for s’mores:

1. Keep all of your camping gear stored together in one place.

This will cut down on time and energy when loading the car. If sleeping bags, tents, cookwares and such are all stored together in boxes, you are pretty much already packed.

2. Prep meals ahead of time.

Foil packets are a great way to save time and energy while camping and they can be assembled at home. Meats can be divided into individual servings and stored in Ziploc containers or bags. They can also marinate in the containers. This also keeps you from preparing raw meat on your picnic table, and it is easier to clean up.

3. Heat water when washing and rinsing your dishes.

Cold water can leave dish soap residue on dishes. This can give you a soapy-tasting dinner or, worse, a stomachache. Some campers cook with propane stoves, which make heating water easier. If you cook over a charcoal fire, fill a pot with water and place it on the coals as you eat to heat the water. Be sure to wash your dishes well after you get home to ensure they are clean for your next trip.HER CAMPING

4. Keep your food stored in lockable containers.

Raccoons, opossums, crows and other animals love to hang around campsites because they know campers equals food. You would be surprised at how much trouble they can cause and how easily they can get into a cooler.

5. Do not keep anything with a smell in your tent.

This rule is more important in bear country, but raccoons are sneaky and like to get into things, too. Smelly items such toothpaste and lotion can also attract bugs, which you do not want in your tent. Also, in hot weather, or if your tent is in the sun, be careful not to leave anything that can melt, like deodorant, in your tent.

6. Pad the ground you plan to sleep on.

A bad night of sleep can ruin a camping trip. Air mattresses, whether full sized or an inch thick, can help you have a comfortable night. They also provide insulation in from the ground in cold weather. If you do not have any, a down blanket can give you a little extra insulation and comfort.

7. Do not put your bedding up against the tent walls.

In fall, winter and spring when the temperature outside is cooler than the body-heated tent inside, condensation can form on the walls. If your bedding is touching the wall it might become wet, as well.

Campfire cooking

Campfire cooking

8. If the forecast calls for a downpour, hang a tarp over your tent for extra protection.

It is best to tie it to trees so it hangs above the tent, but it can be placed directly on the tent.

9. Cuddle up in cold weather, and camp near water in hot weather.

The more people in your tent the warmer it will be. This is great for winter camping, but not so great for summer camping. Be sure to give yourself space while sleeping during hot weather. Also camping near a creek, river or lake, can help your family cool down during the day.

10. Do not forget your bug spray and sunscreen.

This goes without much explanation. Nothing is worse than itchy or painful skin. Camping is a great way to spend quality time with your family. Children are unplugged and when experiencing nature you are more relaxed and at peace.

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Mara Kuhn

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